A Vancouver Island cemetery has become an unlikely campsite, as the province’s COVID-19 crisis hits the local homeless population.
About 18 people have set up tents in the graveyard between Parskville’s St. Anne’s and St. Edmund’s churches.
Rev. Christine Muise said the unusual arrangement came about mid-March when homeless advocates realized a temporary shelter in St. Anne’s was no longer safe during the pandemic.
Muise said temporary housing was arranged in several local motels, but only for a month. The clock on that arrangement ran down this week.
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“We’re hopeful that a more permanent solution for this COVID emergency will unfold,” she said.
While some neighbours Global News spoke with had no problem with the temporary arrangement, Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne was less pleased.
He also called on more support for the homeless from the provincial government.
The province is expected to make an announcement on additional supports for the homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic later this week.
In the meantime, Muise said she hasn’t been hearing much negativity from the neighbours.
“There’s gotta be a space somewhere in this whole region that could be a safe place for physical distancing, proper hygiene … this isn’t appropriate. “
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